When something becomes limited time, it always seems to instil, within us, a great desire to experience that phenomenon before it goes away. Take, for instance, the recent transit of Venus. It was commonly purported that one would not be able to witness the astronomical event again for another century or so, thus leading to a great influx of people to the cloudy fields of Vancouver to miss this occurrence. Of course, this brings to mind the question of whether or not such things are built solely from novelty more so than quality. After all, one would likely consider a meteor shower, which likely happens more than once a century, to be more aesthetically noteworthy than a small black dot moving across the sun. There is, nonetheless, no doubt that regardless of the intrinsic complexity of this limited time object, the public interest and awareness generated makes it noteworthy in the long term. Such is the case for Cartem’s Donuterie, which popped-up shop recently on the outskirts of Gastown. Cartem’s describes itself to be all about being an alternative, particularly because of their vegan and gluten-free options and their primarily locally-sourced ingredients.
During one visit here, which incidentally involved navigating a homeless man urinating against the side of a nearby building on West Hastings, I bought a Bee Sting Donut ($3.00). Their special house-blend, cassia flower-infused honey is slathered on a cake donut and topped off with shaved parmesan and some fresh pepper. The donut base itself is decently chewy yet somewhat tough, though it was very far from having a stale texture. The star player here, the house-made honey, was adequately sweet without being overbearingly so. In contrast, the latter two ingredients, while sounding a tad unconventional, were not extremely prominent in flavour. Instead, they served to add a subtle contrast to the sweetness, particularly the pepper; hence, the “sting” in the donut’s name. As it was one of many food stops on that particular day, Janice, Dorothy, and I split this treat three ways.
On another visit, which had admittedly less notable context aside from Janice‘s judging, I opted for the Earl Grey Donut ($3.00). Being a big fan of the tea in question, I had to try this organic earl grey tea-infused cake donut, which was topped with earl grey glaze and rose petals. In terms of texture, it was more or less similar to the Bee Sting. However, truth be told, this donut did not have that strong of an earl grey presence, which saddened me. I did nonetheless appreciate the fact that it wasn’t too sweet, with the rose petals adding a different, more flower-like taste to the donut.
After my experiences at Cartem’s, I would have to conclude that their creativity and supposed exclusivity take the cake here – or should I say the donut? I mean, who can’t say no to a decent-looking bacon donut? While I do have some concessions with the subtler tastes at play here, I can’t help but appreciate the effort and overall idea behind Cartem’s operation. Even in spite of their elevated price, I would definitely desire one of these holes over your mass-produced Tim Horton’s dessert when I feel like indulging. Now, if only I lived in their free bicycle delivery zone!
Conclusion: Andy ate a fair amount.
408 Carrall Street